St James’s Market was officially founded back in 1663, so a mere 24hrs feels like a speck in the ocean of its existence – but trust us when we say that you can still take in the very best of everything they have to offer.
If you do it right, that is.
So let’s start as we mean to go on, with the most important meal of the day…
Swinging the doors bright & early at 7.30am, Ole & Steen is a Danish bakery, that like other Danish bakeries serves delicious pastries and cinnamon rolls. But unlike other Danish bakeries, they have a sleek marble-soaked interior trimmed with dark varnished wood, and black leather seats to sink into.
Those cinnamon rolls include a little light vanilla custard, and the pastries include the likes of soft Kløben Buns with cardamom, dark chocolate & rye numbers rolled in chopped nuts, and the classic Copenhagener with marzipan paste and poppy seeds. You genuinely can’t go wrong.
After one (or two) of these, and a long coffee, you should be ready for,
It’s time for a little light shopping. And a hop, skip, and a jump away from the bakery you’ll find boutiques such as elegant Italian outfit Paul & Shark, whose nautically inspired clothes tend to wear well on anyone, and the vast Jigsaw St James’s Emporium – 4000 sq ft of luxury mens & womenswear by the classic British outfitter Jigsaw, with a full quarter of the space dedicated to their multi-brand sister store, The Shop at Bluebird.
This shopping lark is generally quite exhausting, so you’ll want to stop for,
Time to indulge in the unique elegance of Ikoyi. Ikoyi is one of Lagos, Nigeria’s most enviable neighbourhoods – and now, one of London, England’s most enviable restaurants. It comes to us from friends Iré Hassan-Odukale and Jeremy Chan, the latter of whom has honed his fine dining skills at places like Dinner and Noma. The dishes they’re knocking up in that open kitchen are all taken from traditional West African cuisine. So on the menu, you’ll find starters such as rare breed lamb ribs with asun relish, while main courses showcase dishes including Wild Nigerian tiger prawn – it’s the size of a small lobster.
After a hearty meal, you should be ready to dive into the,
If all that delicious food has inspired you to cook some of it yourself, you’ll want to head down to the SMEG shop to check out their enviable cookware. The store itself is set in over 6,000 sq. ft. of space, split across three well lit floors, and we mean that – they literally have the longest spans of retail glass in the capital. Hell, they even have a living wall of plants on the ground floor.
You can sample an espresso while you browse everything from wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (from the company’s own farm), to coffee makers, brightly coloured fridges, to cookers.
If, however, all that delicious food has inspired you to try and work off a little bit of it, then you’ll want to pop into ASSOS of Switzerland; one of the most prestigious cycling outfits in the world. After spending four decades innovating in the cycling world (including creating the world’s first carbon fibre bike and the first-ever Lycra cycling shorts), this is their first store outside of Switzerland.
Reminding us all that we’re still in the UK, now’s the time to head to the Urban Tea Rooms for, well, tea. And whatever your taste, you’ll find something that suits it from the wealth of leaves hidden behind their long counter. And if you’re feeling frisky, that includes a Jasmine Gin & Tonic, or an Earl Grey Bloody Mary. Which should segue us neatly into the,
If you plan your day right, you can take this opportunity to head down to one of the various masterclasses on offer at St James’s various spots, like the in-depth whisky masterclasses at Anzu. Check out the lineup HERE.
Then, happily, it’s clearly time for…
Fresh from winning their first Michelin Star within their first year of opening, the clear choice here is Aquavit. Its two floors of comfy Nordic maximalism feature art deco chandeliers, green marble floors, and huge pieces of abstract wall art. The menu yields dishes like butter-poached cod with fennel aïoli & salt-baked celeriac root; seared duck breast with pickled quince and buckwheat porridge; and classics like Toast Skagen; “the Nordic version of prawns on toast”.
And what do you drink at Aquavit? Well, aquavit, which is a spirit distilled from grain or potatoes and flavoured with herbs and spices – there’ll be house-infusions like tamarind, bitter orange, juniper & lemon, and white cranberry. And now we’re more than ready for…
It’s time to head a couple of doors down to Duck & Waffle Local for drinks. First, you’ll need to drink in the interior design though, which is something of a sight to behold, with low lighting revealing a soft-edged industrial vibe that includes a ceiling covered in wooden chairs and corrugated metal.
Take a seat at the bar, and marvel at the pre-bottled and tap cocktails, where you can while away the night with everything from a mojito, to a white basil spritz, to a ‘Duck and Stormy’.
Looks like they’ve got all their ducks in a row.
Want to see more things to do in St James’s Market? Then head on over to read our Guide To St James’s Market…